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Unfiltered Story #243835

, , | Unfiltered | September 14, 2021

Chris and Dorothy are the cutest couple. They were an item when I started working at the home, but they weren’t together when they moved in. They met here, developed a relationship, and then Dorothy moved all her things into Chris’s room. Every time I saw them, their elbows were hooked together. They spoke to each other in baby noises. My boss once saw Chris jokingly grab Dorothy’s boob and they both doubled over laughing.

So it was very sad when Chris told me that Dorothy passed away. Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing a man who looks like Santa Claus get misty-eyed. I work in the kitchen so the only thing I could think to do was put a goofy sticker on his to-go box.

Now the home has two wings. The first wing is where I work and it functions like an average apartment complex except the seniors all have panic buttons to call a nurse. The second wing is our memory care unit which is pretty similar except there are more nurses per senior, every senior has some form of moderate to late stage dementia, and the only door going in is locked with a keypad. Only staff members and approved family members can have the code.

The day after I got the bad news, my manager sent me to the memory care unit to deliver some food to their kitchen. I put my customer service face on, and greeted all the seniors.

“Good morning, Aggie. Good morning, Herb. Good morning, Dorothy. . . . Dorothy?! How did you get down here???”

“Oh! Good morning, Elizabeth. Isn’t this place nice? I just moved here yesterday. Will I still be seeing you?”

One bizarre conversation later, I ran all the way back to the main office and just about busted down the door.

“Boss! Did you know that Chris thinks Dorothy is dead!?”

“I was going to save this for our daily staff meeting, but yes. He’s been alternatively asking to see her and thinking she’s dead, so the executive director typed up a formal statement.”

She handed me a letter that basically said “If Chris asks to visit Dorothy, we should remind him that she’s fine and he can visit in two weeks. Not even Dorothy’s family will be allowed to visit until that date. Just don’t tell him that she’s in memory care or else he’ll try to break down the door.”

We have three seniors whose spouses live in memory care and they all have the code to visit whenever they want. But Chris and Dorothy were never formally married so Chris doesn’t get that luxury.

Every day I was at work, Chris would ask someone about Dorothy then go back to his room to sulk. I saw less of him during meal times and routinely called nurses to check in on him. “At least make sure he has some toast.”

I asked why Chris hasn’t moved to memory care too if he has such obvious memory problems and needs assistance with them. Turns out his kids don’t live in the same state and don’t know what’s going on. At this point the only way he’d move there is if he demonstrably proved he was a threat to himself or others. And living in a memory care unit is generally more expensive than assisted living.

But this was all months ago, so now a nurse takes Chris to visit Dorothy at least once a day and they continue to be gushy like nothing ever happened.

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